• Reading time:10 mins read

‘Five things Duterte got right’

“FIRST, President Duterte has been frank about the true extent of the crisis, making it clear that unless we have a reliable, mass-produced vaccine, there is no return to “normal”: “Ang Covid hindi matatapos ‘yan. It will be here; it will stay until kingdom come pero kung may bakuna na, baka sakaling mauna tayo.’

“Second, Mr. Duterte has shown the political will to extend a difficult and economically devastating lockdown in order to protect public health. This stands in stark contrast to Trump’s itch to restart the American economic engine.

“Third, the President has shown a growing spirit of collaboration with scientists, most notable during his recent dialogue with former health secretaries, including at least one from the opposition.

“Fourth, while Trump and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro have been busy firing competent officials, Mr. Duterte has recruited competent and young technocrats to assist his ongoing efforts, such as Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles and new [Acting] Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Chua.

“And finally, the President, in a rare sign of national unity, has rightly shown due respect and appreciation for Vice President Leni Robredo. There is so much room for improvement, but there is also reason to hope.”

Aren’t mine
The above five paragraphs of course aren’t mine, as would be obvious in the fifth paragraph, which I wouldn’t write. Duterte has simply ignored Robredo.

The above paragraphs were written by a Philippine Daily Inquirer writer of the Yellow Cult, the one who usually quotes several famous authors to impress his readers that he is an erudite scholar.

Even this writer — a fire-breathing Duterte basher — has had to concede to reality. I think this is true now of even the anti-Duterte elites. After all, it is their lives that have been on the line, as they have found themselves stuck in this former colony, and not in, say, New York or Barcelona.

Before they sleep at night, they probably in their heart of hearts thank God that we have a president competent to lead the government in this crisis (the establishment of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases is emblematic of his management acumen) and a leader to give our people hope that we will overcome this crisis — which explains the remarkable discipline shown by our countrymen.

That Yellow writer’s admiration for Duterte in this crisis would indicate that this President has further endeared himself to the nation through this crisis. Indeed it has become very rare in the past month to read in the usual Yellow media outlets anything criticizing Duterte or his handling of the crisis.

This crisis would seem to ensure that Duterte’s anointed two years from now would be a shoo-in for the presidency.

What follows is a brilliant article by Indi Samarajiva, a Sri Lankan published in the up-and-coming social journalism website medium.com on April 20, and which should be widely shared. Acerbic though it may be, it hits the nail right on the head:

“I’m sorry white people, but it’s not China’s fault. It’s you. Your own arrogance, stupidity and ignorance are getting you and everyone else killed. …

“Whatever the Chinese government said, on January 23 they locked down an entire city. This was visible from space. This was a pretty clear warning, and East Asian countries immediately snapped into action.

“Every neighboring country — from Thailand to Vietnam to Taiwan to South Korea — now has less than 1,000 deaths total. [The Philippines has 615 as of yesterday – RDT.] They had the same warning and in many cases more difficult relationships with China, but they still managed to fight back Covid-19 without blaming anyone. Because blaming anyone doesn’t do anything.

“Wherever it comes from, whatever the next country did, you just have to take action and fight it yourself. Poor countries like Vietnam and even Senegal have figured this out, but the trillion-dollar empires of the West have drones for brains. They only understand bombing defenseless brown people, or picking on helpless refugees. In the face of an actual threat, they’re like paper tigers, folding under the slightest pressure.

“After relentlessly framing China as an enemy, the West is then asking why their enemy didn’t save them. It’s meaningless and only feeds the pointless resentment that got them in trouble in the first place.

“If the West was unable to learn from China, they could have still learned from a dozen other countries. But still, they remained arrogant. They remain arrogant to this day.

“Instead of looking to East Asia or even to Europe, countries like the US and the UK debated over ancient, undocumented computer models. They preferred to learn from computer-modeled white people over real Asian deaths. Over even real Italian deaths. Over even real New York deaths. That is the power of hubris, and that is the self-destruction they wrought upon themselves.

“Instead of just learning from Asia and acting fast, the West dithered and debated into tens of thousands of casualties and, ultimately, much higher costs and economic damages. While Asian countries are now opening up, Western countries are still protesting against themselves, and getting more and more hopelessly behind. …

“Instead of looking to Korea, with 240 dead, Western media points to Germany, with over 4,600 deaths. This would be considered a complete catastrophe anywhere outside of Christendom, but Angela Merkel is now the great white hope, graded on a bloody curve.

White women
“Memes now imply that white women are the secret weapon, ignoring the preparation and hard work across much of the south. It’s not just East Asia, the Indian state of Kerala and even many parts of Africa have better responses, but no one looks there. Because they don’t want to see. It’s like a photo where the dark people just get underexposed. We’re just invisible.

“The West has risen so far in empire that they forgot to look down, or even to the side. They call themselves the developed world, but that’s just not true anymore. They’re just an empire in decline, and now wholesale collapse, and it’s because they stopped learning. Their fatal sin has been pride.

“In fact, it is Europe more than China that is responsible for spreading the coronavirus around the world, especially to America. The empire infected itself, but they can’t see that, because they don’t want to.

“I won’t even get into whether China should have done more. Everyone should have done more. China took 42 days from their first case to a lockdown, but Germany took 55 and the UK 53. [Also 42 days for us, from first case on January 30 to March 12 Metro Manila shutdown, modified for entire Luzon March 15 – RDT.] The US still has no coherent national response. China sucks, but they were at least able to react, and react decisively. They at least didn’t debate killing their grandparents. Hubris seems more implacable than the worst authoritarianism.

“Blaming the WHO, which is stuck between all these idiots, is even more reprehensible, but the US is going there as well.

“Again, no responsible country is making these attacks against countries and institutions. They’re attacking the virus. It is only the West looking so desperately for someone to blame, because they cannot bear to look in the mirror at what they have become.

“And yes, I said white people. The fact is that white nationalist leaders like Trump in America and Boris Johnson in the UK have had the most disastrous responses. And you can include Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil. Even the more benign leadership of Europe and places like Sweden have been undone by their quieter hubris, which is ultimately bound up in race and power.

“To the white people in the formerly dominant West, the problem isn’t China or anyone else. The problem is you. And yes I’m saying all of “you, because it’s a medium.com post, and because it’s not just the outward racists. It’s the fact that these people get elected, get laundered by the press, that they are a structural problem with your societies and not just a few bad apples.

“The refusal to see, to listen or learn anything from the rest of the world is endemic to the West. The years of slipping into easy blame of minorities or easy wars against poor brown people in places you’ve never seen. The easy fear of terrorism, and its misidentification as Muslim or brown. Even liberal white people are placated by the few minorities in your midst, ignoring the global apartheid that keeps most of the world outside, or oppressed as ‘illegals’ in your home.

“The West is now just a bunch of failed states wearing Gucci belts, which are of course made in China. The pants are now down, the empire has no clothes and people are dying. And you are democracies.”

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